Arthritis is a term that encompasses a group of more than 100 diseases. An estimated 70 million Americans suffer from arthritis or arthritis-related symptoms, and more than half of those with arthritis are under 65 years of age. Gender is also a factor; nearly 60 percent of Americans with arthritis are women. When thinking about arthritis, most associate the condition with aching bones and stiff joints caused by age-related wear and tear osteoarthritis (OA). But beyond this most common form of arthritis, there are many forms of the condition that can be more serious, including inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and lupus. To help those with all forms of arthritis, research to understand the causes and preventions and the development of new treatments is crucial.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), leads the Federal medical research efforts in arthritis and rheumatic disease. By conducting both clinical studies (involving patients) and basic (laboratory) research, the NIH is helping develop a better understanding of what causes these conditions and how best to treat and prevent them. More information about arthritis and rheumatic diseases and the research being conducted can be found at www.niams.nih.gov or by calling toll free, 877.22.NIAMS (877.226.4267). Additional information can also be accessed through the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) at www.aaos.org, or the American College of Rheumatology at www.rheumatology.org